Small Business Owners Bring Main Street Voices to Washington, DC

On October 20, an all-star team of small business leaders from across the Main Street Alliance network made the trek to Washington, DC to represent the voice of Main Street small businesses in the nation’s capital.

Business owners came from Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington to participate in meetings on Capitol Hill. In a day and a half, the team conducted close to 20 meetings with Senate and House offices, including three face to face meetings with U.S. Senators.

The group held wide-ranging conversations with congressional offices, covering topics including job creation and regulations, revenues and investment, health care, immigration reform, and fixing the housing market. Read more

Report from DC: Can A Financial Transaction Tax Fix The Deficit?

A financial transaction tax (FTT) is one proposal being debated by economists as a solution to the national budget deficits both in the US and in Europe.  The FTT would place a small tax on stock and commodity trade, and a version of it has been introduced in the Congress by Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).  A similar proposal is being considered by the European as well.

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Alabama’s H.B. 56 is Bad for People of Color

Last week, a federal judge refused to block enforcement of Alabama’s anti-immigration law, HB 56. This law, the harshest anti-immigrant law in the country, requires law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect may be an undocumented immigrant and demands that K-12 schools track the immigration status of children. This law is bad for people, especially people of color. Since enactment, thousands of people have taken their children out of school, abandoned their jobs and have left Alabama altogether. This has been devastating to agriculture in the state, where millions of dollars of produce are simply rotting in the fields. Read more

Bank of America to Charge Fee to Use… Your Money

Beginning January One, Bank of America will be charging customers $5 a month to use their debit cards. Back in 2009, small businesses banded together to fight back against ever escalating fees levied by the banks. This was a monumental win for small businesses- these fees amounted to a $16Billion a year transfer of wealth from the nation’s businesses directly to Wall Street. Click here to see how small businesses beat back the big banks. Read more

The Distasteful Politics of Food

How, what, and where we eat everyday is strongly influenced by the federal government, in partnership with major food corporations, through a piece of legislation called the Farm Bill. Many of the social determinates of health that impact our communities find their roots in the Farm Bill a massive piece of legislation up for renewal in 2012.

We need to pay close attention to this legislation in the coming months. In particular, we need to focus on the ways in which the Farm Bill enables corporate practices that contribute to racial disparities in health, set us back in terms of racial equity, and promote greed over need. In a climate where Congress is looking to make cuts, corporate agribusiness will be working hard to protect their interests, leaving the rest of us with a huge tab that will cost not just in dollars but also in lives. Read more